La Leyenda de Samu Castillejo

Once in a lifetime you will see a player like Samu Castillejo come to a club like Milan, and you will never forget it. It was not just about the perennially bleached hair and the one-of-a-kind fashion. He was also a Milan supporter as a child, dedicated and hardworking, and so committed to the club that he simply did not want to leave... ever. Until he did. This week, as news broke that the Spanish winger was rescinding his contract to join Gattuso at Valencia, it felt like a fairy tale was over or a legend was ending forever – la leyenda de Samu Castillejo.

Others may try, but there will never be another Samu Castillejo

He was brought in by Leonardo and signed within the first week or two of Maldini's return to the club. How else could you explain spending only €19 million plus Carlos Bacca in exchange for this incomparable winger? And what seasoned sporting director wouldn't give a virtually unknown and unproven player like him a five year contract at a major club like Milan? It's hard to believe that he is leaving with virtually no compensation for the club at all, save for perhaps some bonuses reportedly built into the contract. It truly was a legend in the making. 

Legendary player. Legendary hair.

A legendary winger who would score all of nine goals and make eight assists in just 101 appearances in all competitions for Milan over four years. Just think... 101 matches where those legendary spindly legs streaked up and down the pitch, and we got to witness every minute of them. Not since the man who is now one of our assistant coaches, Daniele Bonera, played for Milan have we seen such dogged heart and determination exceed all expectations of talents and abilities. 

Two legends, two different paths.

It was exactly this heart that helped turn the game around against Verona this season, forever imprinting his hero status on the hearts of Milan fans. Even when his legendary status made him too immortal for the Champions League list, or even to see much of the pitch at all, Castillejo was always prepared to give his very best for the team. 

Always emotional because he always gave 110% plus salon time in every match

Even when the net was simply not wide enough for his legendary finishing skills, he always took the shot. He never missed an opportunity to take the shot. Not even when a teammate was in a better position would he make them shoot. Because he would simply never do that to a teammate.

Why make a teammate spend energy celebrating when you can sacrifice with frustration?

Tragically, he faced similar treatment to Djamel Mesbah nine years ago, with the club trying to push him out before his contract was up. Some clubs never learn. But, like Mesbah, he fought the good fight and kept his spot in the team even when he was told that his legendary status was just too much for a starting spot or even a spot at all. Like his fashion and hair choices, Castillejo just doesn't give up that easily.

Castillejo's contract negotiation face

I suppose that when Gattuso called, it was not an easy choice, but I guess he knew that by rescinding his contract at Milan, he could give someone else the opportunity to write their legend, too.  Also, he had to know his fans needed to see him get more playing time.

He's bringing the ninja moves back to Spain

He is going home to Spain, closer to his football school for young children. He can help out his first Milan coach, someone who appreciates him and got the best out of him, by bringing his mad skills to Valencia. And he is leaving in the best possible way, going out on top with a title. Like a true legend.

Leaving like a legend

We thought that we had seen the most legendary selfie at Milan with Constant's shirtless photo with the bow tie. But the Frenchman had nothing on Castillejo's near constant Instagram selfie stream. 

From bold black and whites

To cool fashion poses

His distinct style

Clearly took a lot of effort

Even when fan abuse on Twitter forced him to delete his account, actually causing some Milan fans to pause for a moment and consider their behavior online, he managed to bravely post picture after picture of himself on Instagram.

He posted with his love interests

And he never forgot the little people

He even posed with a snake

And he posted a picture of his debut at the San Siro (with his favorite coach)

That is a profile pic that has legend written all over it

His teammates will be sorry to see him go. He is reportedly the nicest guy and always a supportive teammate. Likewise, Milan fans are left with not only a hole in their Instagram feed, but a lack of fashion direction or inspiration for hairstyles. 

The benevolent legend blesses teammate Theo Hernández

The ballboys may have less work to do as well, without his legendary shots that the net clearly missed. But we must all pick ourselves up and move on to the next player to come along, who will certainly be less interesting and likely post fewer selfies. There will never be another player exactly like Castillejo at Milan, or so we can dream. That is truly la leyenda de Samu Castillejo.

The legendary Milan number 7

This post inspired by the music of twenty one pilots' "Tear in My Heart"

Our next match is
a Preseason Friendly
FC Köln vs. AC Milan
Saturday, July 16 • 19:00 CEST (1pm EDT)
Rheinenergiestadion, Cologne

La Leyenda de Samu Castillejo La Leyenda de Samu Castillejo Reviewed by Elaine on 12:00 AM Rating: 5
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